Exploring environment-friendly alternatives

Izah Azahari

Opportunities are being explored on the concepts of how environmental practices can be applied to the aviation industry, starting with going paperless.

Legislative Council member and Young Professionals Network Brunei representative Yang Berhormat Khairunnisa binti Haji Ash’ari made these comments during the Civil Aviation Forum 2020 held in conjunction with the International Civil Aviation Day 2020 at the Datastream Digital Sdn Bhd (DST) Headquarters yesterday.

“This is one of our approaches to reduce expenses in terms of paper production and so on,” she said. “For aviation itself, this carbon offset is one of the opportunities that we can explore,” she said.

Yang Berhormat Khairunnisa touched on how airline tickets are still widely used in Brunei upon check-in, as opposed to other countries that have adopted mobile check-in.

Several initiatives have been adopted by other airlines that enable its customers to contribute to the carbon offset programme which will help support environmental initiatives such as tree planting in conservation areas. A matured tree can absorb approximately 21.8kg of carbon dioxide.

Minister of Transport and Infocommunications Dato Seri Setia Awang Abdul Mutalib bin Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yusof listens to a forum session by Legislative Council member Yang Berhormat Khairunnisa binti Haji Ash’ari, DST Sdn Bhd Chief Executive Officer Radin Sufri bin Radin Basiuni, Norshahrul Nizam bin Othman from AITI, Angela Ng from the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore and Captain Chua Hong Tad from the Royal Brunei Airlines. PHOTO: BAHYIAH BAKIR

One of the country’s targets in the recently launched Brunei Darussalam National Climate Change Policy is to plant 500,000 trees by 2035. Hence, opportunities can be explored to enable customers support the target.

“This area of innovation and climate change is something the youth are quite involved and interested in,” Yang Berhormat Khairunnisa added.

The first session of the forum discussed ‘Innovation in Aviation World’, which also saw the presence of DST Sdn Bhd Chief Executive Officer Radin Sufri bin Radin Basiuni, Norshahrul Nizam bin Othman from the Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry of Brunei Darussalam (AITI), Angela Ng from the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and Captain Chua Hong Tad from the Royal Brunei Airlines (RB).

Radin Sufri entailed how the introduction of the Unified National Networks (UNN) enabled DST to identify a new system called Business Support System (BSS) that not only supports their customers, but also the automation of their branches from the back-end up to the front-end.

He said that after almost a year, digitalisation has come within customers’ experience.

“Most organisations here, especially DST, exist to serve our customers and all the digitalisation is to automate all our customers’ experience,” he said, adding that digitalisation would also enable the enhancement of customers’ experience at the Brunei International Airport.

Meanwhile, RB’s Captain Chua, who boasts 25 years of flying experience, said flying schools have now changed significantly with the introduction of various innovations that have now become the norm, such as the auto-pilot, auto-trim, air-car, weather radars and the like.

Captain Chua said, “To supplement those kinds of innovations, the most important thing is the way we train as it has changed to support that. One of the things that has come up now is VR (Virtual Reality) training for pilots and training crew.”

The RB pilot added there are several benefits to the new training methods as they centred towards thinking, which enables dynamic reality. He also noted that innovation has enhanced several safety aspects.

Norshahrul Nizam of AITI said that mobile technology has changed since its beginnings in the 1990s. There were around 11 million global subscribers at that time, and has risen to about 8.8 billion global connections now. Out of that, about 5.1 billion are human connections, while the remainder is whether they’re connecting their devices such as iPads, homes or IoT (Internet of Things) at about 2.7 billion connections.

“Connected drones are one of the things benefitting from IoT in the aviation industry,” said Norshahrul Nizam.

He added that the prospects of moving on to 5G saw AITI set up a 5G fast-course earlier this year to bring together 44 different agencies, with one working group looking to explore the use of 5G in specifically looking into oil and gas using drones. In terms of innovations for the aviation industry, he said there is a need for a closer collaboration between several sectors but not limited to only the aviation and the telecomm industries.

Meanwhile, sharing on Singapore’s digital transformation in safety regulation, Angela Ng shared a presentation on digitalisation efforts; going online to reduce work duplication and cut waste; streamlining business processes to ease paperwork burden internally; clean data, diverse sources and strong data visualisation and analytical skills as pillars critical for their vision to be a data-driven regulator; participation in regional safety data analysis efforts; training framework for staff; one aviation approach to safe air travel; little and big innovations; and process innovation.

“Digital transformation is gaining momentum especially during the COVID-19 situation. It requires collaboration and change management among users and partners in integration between operations and technology, buy-in from users, process owners and sponsors, and embrace of new working modes,” Angela said. “In crisis, innovation is a necessity.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has dampened negative impacts on the aviation industry. Comparing 2020 to 2019, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) estimated overall reduction of air passengers ranging from 59 to 60 per cent; the Airport Council International (ACI) estimated loss of approximately 60 per cent of passenger traffic; and the International Airlines Transport Association (IATA) estimated 54.7 per cent decline of revenue passenger kilometres (RPK).

In the effort to recover, risk management approach is required to protect passengers and aviation workers form COVID-19. Mitigation measures such as general hygiene, physical distancing, face coverings, routine sanitation, health screening, health monitoring, contact tracing, and health declaration are now the new normal to aviation.

The second session’s topic ‘Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic to Aviation Industry and How Innovation Help to Mitigate the Pandemic’ saw panellists comprising Department of Civil Aviation’s Muhammad Emmy Shamdy Khairul bin Haji Kadir, RB’s Deogenes Ancheta Oriel, Ministry of Health’s Dr Justin Wong and Tourism Development Department’s Haji Zulzalani bin Haji Osman discussing the implementation of the measures.

Both sessions were moderated by Sheikh Idham bin Sheikh Abas.

Minister of Transport and Infocommunications Dato Seri Setia Awang Abdul Mutalib bin Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yusof was the guest of honour.